Produce For Better Health Foundation Shares Shopper Insights

For the past six years, Produce for Better Health Foundation, has conducted a consumer survey focused on moms with young children, and the motivators, barriers, and needs related to their fruit and vegetable consumption.  Many companies focus on mom as the main ‘buyer’ in the family.  However, a single primary shopper may not always be a mom, and insight into their fruit and vegetable buying pattern is also important to fruit and vegetable marketers.  For 2012, PBH surveyed 700 moms with kids 10 and under, and 600 primary shoppers [the one member of the household purchasing the majority of food; may or may not have children].  The primary shopper group accounted for and included representatives from the following demographic groups:  Males and Females [over 18, single or married]; Older and Younger [above or below age 35, male or female]; Single and Married [over 18, male or female]; Lower Income and Higher Income [annual income above or below $50,000, male or female]. The key findings and summary points from the survey follow.

Moms and primary shoppers most commonly site the Internet when wanting information on how to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into daily meals and snacks.  Family is the second source of information for Moms.  However, the second source of information for primary shoppers is a nutritionist or dietitian, especially for Male primary shoppers, Single primary shoppers, and Lower income primary shoppers.  Supermarkets were ranked third as the resource for primary shoppers wanting information about fruits and vegetables.

All groups want more recipes, cost saving tips, information on how to store fruits and vegetables, knowing what’s in season, new cooking techniques, and new serving suggestions.  All of this information, plus more, is easy for industry members to provide to consumers:  simply link to the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters website.  “The Fruits & Veggies—More Matters website offers a tremendous amount of nutrition information, recipes, tips and ideas on a variety of topics such as preparation techniques, eating healthy on a budget, seasonality, and overcoming general misperceptions about fruits and vegetables,” says Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., PBH President and CEO. “Using our web button, or just adding a link, to our consumer site makes it easy to provide shoppers with their desired information in one convenient place.”

Cost, taste and freshness are the most important factors for moms and other primary shoppers when shopping for fruits and vegetables.  Cross-marketing opportunities exist related to these factors.   For example, explain that 100% juice, canned, dried, and frozen fruit and vegetables begin as fresh and therefore have ‘freshness.’  Educate, market, and promote to moms and primary shoppers how mixing different forms of fruits and vegetables (frozen mixed with canned, dried mixed with fresh, etc.) can help with cost and convenience, while still providing great taste and freshness.

Moms and primary shoppers typically spend more than 30 minutes to prepare a meal; 84% of moms spend 30 minutes or more compared to 67% of primary shoppers.  The Single primary shopper, Lower Income primary shopper, and Younger primary shopper typically are more likely to spend less time preparing a meal than Married, Higher Income, and Older shoppers.

Supermarket fliers and in-store signage/displays continue to be the most efficient communication method to influence all primary shoppers to purchase a product, particularly for the Female primary shopper.  Supermarkets remain the top way moms and primary shoppers learn about the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters national health campaign and are influenced to buy more fruit and vegetables thereby increasing sales and consumption.  Currently 77% of moms believe a product is healthy and 69% believe it is nutritious when it carries the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters logo on package.  For primary shoppers, 70% believe a product is healthy, when carrying the logo on package, and 56% believe it is nutritious.

Male primary shopper data suggests that this group needs to be marketed to differently.  Compared to Female primary shoppers, they are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables because of the energy provided, whereas the Female shopper is more likely to eat them to prevent weight gain.  The male shopper also more often forgets to buy fruits and vegetables, compared to the female shopper, and finds receiving regular reminders useful.  Compared to the female shopper, the male shopper feels fruit and vegetables are more time consuming to purchase and prepare.  They will more frequently purchase frozen, canned and dried fruit as well as dried vegetables, 100% vegetable juice, and vegetable purees than other forms of fruits and vegetables.  The male shopper ranks ‘healthy’ as one of their top factors when shopping for fruits and vegetables compared to ‘family preferences’ for the female shopper.  They also purchase more fruit and vegetables at convenience stores and gas stations, and spend less time making a dinner meal, compared to other primary shopper groups.

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